Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott
4 titles in the the top 1000,
27th in points with 20,824

Ridley Scott, one of the best modern action directors, has managed to direct both popular films, and films that were excellent examples of cinema craftmanship, among the best of their genres. These are all the films of Ridley Scott’s (brother of Tony Scott) that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Blade Runner (1982) #13
2. Alien (1979) #51
3. Thelma & Louise (1991) #287
4. Gladiator (2000) #517

Two more mentioned, both severely underanked, should be in the top 1000, especially Black Hawk Down
5. The Duellists (1977) #1999
6. Black Hawk Down (2001) #2181

Blade Runner is excellent science fiction, now considered a classic (perhaps ranked a little too highly, maybe around 50-75 on my personal list). It is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? However, the main character and emphasis of the book was the electric animal repairman who takes in the androids due to his love of machines and his ability to fix them. The title was deemed too long, so they bought the title Blade Runner from an unrelated novel, this term was never used in Dick’s novel. The android hunter in the book was the bad guy, being a hitman for hire out there killing precious electric humanoids; the electric repairman was the only person in the book with a heart. My only complaint with Scott's film is that he turned it into less SF and more film noir detective fare, not the aura you get from the novel.

Alien is overrated, in Sigourney Weaver’s own words, "it’s just And Then There Were None in space" (and it made her a star) – this is the classic Agatha Christie novel (and Rene Clair film) where a small group of people are invited to a remote island then are murdered one-by-one, with the implication being that one of them is the murderer. In this case, we know the murderer and it's the same plot event over and over until the last human (Weaver). In this version, substitute an alien planet for the island, and one ugly alien designed by artist H.R. Giger, as the murderer - somehow a species unknown to human space that apparently gestates inside humans and that has acid for blood; go figure.

Aliens, the sequel directed by James Cameron, was much better science fiction, and a new level of creepy as well – perhaps the best horror film ever made because it works on three levels: science fiction, horror, military action. Bill Paxton’s lines were hilarious, “Ain’t you keeping up with current events, pal? We’re getting our asses kicked!” and “game over, man, game over!” When Sigourney Weaver tells him “this little girl survived”, he says, “then why don’t you put her in charge?”

Thelma and Louise is overrated to me (but is a fun and mindess action film, noted for the first onscreen appearance of Brad Pitt, as Geena Davis' lover), should be down around 500th-700th. A much better female revenge story is the French film Chaos (2001), in which an Algerian woman sold into prostitution plots to escape her life and punish her captors. In a way, it's a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. This is a film you will applaud in the end.

Gladiator is perhaps underrated at 500, I’d have it in the top 200 for sure, one of the best adventure films ever, with supreme imagination, excellent acting, and top notch special effects. Easily the best film of a usually terrible sub-genre, the gladiator film. I’m always reminded of the line in Airplane, when Peter Graves asks the kid, “Tell me, Timmy, do you like gladiator films?”

The Duellists is a long film about a long feud between two officers, Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine, during the Napoleonic Wars, in which they fight a series of never-ending swordfights. This is a cerebral swashbuckler film, on the level of Kafka, in which life is not about winning or losing, but about the fight. Underrated at 1999, should be in the top 1000.

Black Hawk Down [see photo below] is one of the most intense war action films ever, on a level with Saving Private Ryan, and based on a true story of a downed U.S. helicopter in Somalia, being attacked on all sides as a rescue team searches on the ground. Almost too realistic, hard to believe it's not in the top 1000 - it would be in my top 200, one of the best 5 war films ever, perhaps, especially for action.

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

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